Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 5, Deep Throat Explodes (and so does Sammy Davis Jr.)

Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 5, Deep Throat Explodes (and so does Sammy Davis Jr.)

On the previous episode of Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story:

When budding film director Gerard Damiano saw Linda Traynor/Boreman giving head, he stopped shooting the short sex loop he was planning then and there, choosing instead to make a feature-length movie around her unique talent.

Linda had her doubts, but her husband Chuck was all in on the idea, loving the $1,200 payment that came with the role, and its potential to further inject him and Linda into the heart of the sex industry. But when the movie production started, Chuck was less pleased with the generous attention Linda received on set, and with what he perceived was the disrespectful way he was treated by the movie’s crew.

While Linda never wanted to be in the film, she did find a measure of relief making the movie. The kindness she was shown by cast and crew was reassuring, even if it was accompanied by Chuck’s anger.

As filming wrapped, the crew returned to NY for post-production work on Deep Throat (1972). And Chuck and Linda began thinking about their next steps – as both manager and performer as well as husband and wife.

You can read or listen to the previous episodes here.

This episode running time is 63 minutes.


1. ‘Deep Throat’: From Production to Premiere

When production of ‘Deep Throat’ wrapped in January 1972, Chuck was primed to return to New York and resume working in the adult film business – with the help of his wife, of course. But on the way back, Chuck told Linda he wanted to make a stop in North Carolina to visit his mother.

Chuck TraynorChuck and Elaine

By this time, Linda knew Chuck’s backstory – or at least what he’d allowed her to know. He had shared how his mother, Elaine, had been young and unwed when she got pregnant with him, and that he was raised by his grandparents. How as a kid, contact with his mother had been almost nonexistent. It wasn’t her fault, Chuck said, she’d wanted to raise her son herself but her parents wouldn’t let her. His grandparents meant well, and Chuck loved them, but he had lost a lot of time – time that Elaine and Chuck were now determined to make up.

Linda felt a glimmer of hope at the prospect of visiting Elaine. Maybe she’d be able to understand Chuck a little more after meeting his mother, and maybe that would help her manage the relationship. Maybe she could even forge a bond with Elaine that would encourage Chuck to treat her better.

But as Linda later shared, the trip did little to help improve the couple’s dynamic:

“It didn’t take me long to realize that Elaine wouldn’t be my ally. Chuck was the apple of her eye; he could do no wrong. When he was with his mother, Chuck became the perfect gentleman. As long as we were under her roof, he was even polite to me. His mother was obviously crazy about her son. She was proud of his having been a Marine, a pilot, and a man in business for himself.

“Chuck’s mother was fifty-ish, black-haired, and heavily made up: she favored pale blue eye shadow and black drawn-on eyebrows. She told us stories going back to the time when Chuck was a little boy and she had left his father. She said that at that time she’d been friends with some of that era’s most notorious mobsters. She explained that she worked at a florist shop that was used as a front. Although she had been the special friend of one man in particular, she had escorted others as well.

Chuck TraynorElaine Traynor

“I wondered whether this explained Chuck’s attitude towards women. I’m no shrink, but it was obvious that he hated women. Did it all begin as a deep resentment toward his mother and the way she was living her life? Maybe the brutality he directed toward me was something he would rather have directed toward his mother.”

After the North Carolina visit, Chuck and Linda returned to New York. Looking to gain back some control after the filming of ‘Deep Throat’, Chuck decided he was going to make his own movies. As Linda remembered:

“Life continued as it had before my debut in a movie, but with a difference: all that exposure to moviemaking had given Chuck a new ambition. Never again would he be someone else’s gofer; now he wanted to make his own movies. And so, on our first day back in the New York area, Chuck borrowed an eight-millimeter camera from Lou Peraino.”

Linda LovelaceLinda Lovelace

Chuck also picked up something else for his films – a hitchhiker named Ginger whom he thought would pair nicely on screen with Linda. As Linda remembered:

“Chuck was always picking up female hitchhikers. In fact, that’s how he did most of his recruiting. I was amazed by the way Chuck would pick up a hitchhiker and ask right off, ‘Would you like to be a hooker?’ I was even more amazed by the number of young girls who didn’t say no.”

Chuck figured he would start by directing a couple of loops. As usual he wanted to push boundaries, mainly because he knew that more uncommon fare would earn him more money, and so Chuck came up with two separate loop concepts.

He called the first one ‘Open Pussy, Insert Foot’ – aka ‘The Foot’. The name of the film says it all. A few years later in 1975, Chuck would tell Hustler magazine about making this short:

“I wanted to work doing loops – 8mm balling films – so I went to the guy who owned a sex shop joint. He said, ‘Do one, and if it’s any good, we’ll take it.’ So I did one called ‘The Foot.’ And they freaked over it.”

This loop starts with Linda in bed masturbating, when Ginger knocks at the door – the only time we actually see Ginger’s face. Ginger hands Linda some money, and Linda slips it under her pillow. We then see a foot being removed from a boot, and Linda engaging in energetic toe sucking. Linda then proceeds to mount the foot and treat it like a long-lost lover, before the action culminates in an unconventional cum shot.

Chuck remembered the loop with breathless, boastful fondness:

“It was a dynamite film. It was about a chick that balls a foot. Now, my foot had a character. It had a smiling face, an ankle bracelet, and painted toenails. There were two girls involved, but you never saw one of the girls. All that you saw was the foot, and that was the whole deal. All the way through the film you kept thinking that when the foot arrives at the other girl’s house, the camera would pan up and you’d see these two chicks balling. But it never did. The camera stayed on the one girl’s foot and the other girl’s pussy. And this chick with the pussy was large enough for this foot to get into her… that was Linda.

“For the come shot I took a piece of neoprene tubing and ran it down the back of the girl’s leg, under her foot, and up her big toe. Then I took a rubber syringe and filled it with Carnation milk and egg white. The foot was balling away and then pulled out of the pussy and came out of the big toe.”

Chuck called his second loop ‘The Fist’. Once again, the title doesn’t leave much to the imagination. It starts with Ginger reading a book titled ‘I, Pervert’ before, this time, she’s interrupted by Linda at the door. Linda comes bearing gifts – three large dildos and a jar of Vaseline. The two women begin having sex using a double-headed dildo but Ginger soon replaces the instrument with her fist, fully penetrating Linda until she appears to orgasm.

Both ‘The Foot’ and ‘The Fist’ were soup-to-nuts Chuck Traynor productions. Chuck was producer, director, cameraman, and special effects coordinator all in one. And he was pleased with his work, confident the loops were a cut above the rest. But Chuck lamented what came next:

“The company I sold it to said it was too freaky for the dirty old man with the raincoat that buys 8mm films.”

So in the end Chuck was only able to hock a handful of copies to a few random Times Square bookstores – nothing close to the money and recognition he felt his work deserved.

‘Deep Throat’ still hadn’t been released, so Chuck continued to try and sell his and Linda’s services to the New York sex business. But the city wasn’t buying. So Chuck told Linda it was time to head back down to Miami, where Linda’s old hooking clients could keep the cash rolling in while they figured out what their next move should be.

Linda LovelaceLinda Lovelace

And so, back down south, Linda serviced a steady stream of johns. With Chuck acting as her pimp, no request was deemed too extreme. One night, Chuck arranged for Linda to perform a show with a local dominatrix who was known for doling out severe punishment on demand. After being aggressively sodomized, Linda suffered rectal bleeding that required immediate medical attention. Ever short of cash, Chuck arranged a barter for that doctor visit, trading Linda’s fellatio services. Chuck liked this business model, and went on to do the same with a local optometrist and a dermatologist as well. Recalling the arrangement, Linda remarked:

“I just found myself praying Chuck and I stayed in good health.”

In fact, when Chuck and Linda went to the dermatologist just for routine care, the doctor shared news of a new service he’d just started to offer – silicone injections to augment a woman’s breast size. The practice had started during World War II when prostitutes in Japan wanted a more western appearance to attract American servicemen. Eventually the procedure made its way to the States where it gained popularity in the 1950s. But by the 1960s people began questioning the safety of directly injecting silicone into the body. A significant number of women who’d undergone the procedure began complaining of hardening and painful breasts. This led to the introduction of implants in 1961, and a rejection of direct injection by most medical professionals.

But in 1972, there were still doctors happy to inject silicone directly into a woman’s chest – especially apparently if they got a blow job in return. Linda was hesitant about the procedure, but claimed Chuck gave her no choice in the matter. By the time they left the surgeon’s office that day, Linda’s breast size had increased from 34B to 36C.

Meanwhile back in New York, Gerard Damiano had finished his first edit of ‘Deep Throat’. While he’d exhausted his budget, he still felt the work was incomplete. So Gerard went back to his financial backer, Butchie Peraino and asked for an additional seven thousand dollars. Gerard told Butchie he knew exactly what would propel the film from a modest success to a bigger hit: it just needed an original soundtrack.

Gerard explained he could deliver the recording for such a low cost because he’d compose and write the music himself – he just needed musicians, vocalists, and some studio time. Gerard’s powers of persuasion prevailed, resulting in 12 new songs with bizarre lyrics like: “‘Deep Throat’, deeper than your throat, ‘Deep Throat’, go row the boat, go get your coat, that’s all she wrote, ‘Deep Throat’.” The most popular of the compositions was titled “I’d Like to Teach the World to Screw,” a bald-faced parody of the famous Coca-Cola jingle.

With the soundtrack recorded, Gerard was able to complete post production. The final film came in at a running time of 62 minutes, packed with 12 original songs and 15 salacious sex scenes. As a last step, Gerard had to finalize the credits of his cast and crew. The name Linda Lovelace was already set. Cinematographer João Fernandes, looking to protect the potential of a mainstream career, adopted the pseudonym Harry Flecks after the Arriflex camera he used. And another Harry was born with ‘Deep Throat’ – Harry Reems, who had been referred to in previous films by names like Dick Hurt and Peter Long.

Now ‘Deep Throat’ was ready for the world. But was the world ready for ‘Deep Throat’…?

Deep Throat


2. ‘Deep Throat’ Premieres

‘Deep Throat’ opened at the New Mature World Theater, colloquially referred to as ‘the World’, on Monday, June 12th 1972. That same day Mature Pictures, owner of the World, ran the following ad in several local newspapers:

“Call theater for sensational title of our new film.”

World Theater

In the first couple of months that it ran, ‘Deep Throat’ was a modest hit. Gerard Damiano remembered it was grossing about $15,000 a week – easily recouping the production costs and on the higher end of the porn revenue scale at the time, but nothing outrageous. Early reviews were mixed too.

Al Goldstein, founder of Screw magazine, gave the film 100% on his infamous peter meter, saying,

“I was never so moved by any theatrical performance since stuttering through my own bar mitzvah.”

Al GoldsteinAl Goldstein

As for mainstream reviews, well – if you assess the film on the basis of the prestige of the publications that reviewed ‘Deep Throat’ then the movie was a success. But if you judge it by what the reviews actually said, then the story is a little different: The New York Review of Books described the film as “witless, exploitive and about as erotic as a tonsillectomy.” New York magazine dismissed it as a prime example of “idiot filmmaking.” Roger Ebert wrote, “It is all very well and good for Linda Lovelace to advocate sexual freedom. But the energy she brings to her role is less awesome than discouraging. If you have to work this hard at sexual freedom, maybe it isn’t worth the effort.”

Deep Throat

By mid-August 1972, ‘Deep Throat’’s modest popularity was dying down. The film had satisfied the producers, the director, and hopefully the audience who’d seen it, and it was set to go the way of the rest of the adult films that had preceded it, and fall into obscurity. End of story.

Deep ThroatEarly ad for ‘Deep Throat’

But then on Friday August 18th, something happened that would change the trajectory of the film forever. The Public Morals Division of the New York City Police Department busted the movie. Criminal Court Judge Ernst Rosenberger accompanied a police officer, Michael Sullivan, to view ‘Deep Throat’ at the World Theater. When the showing finished, Judge Rosenberger immediately authorized police seizure of the film. So five police officers found World Theater manager Bob Sumner and issued him a summons then and there.

Deep Throat

But the ‘Deep Throat’ bust wasn’t an isolated incident at the time, and wasn’t the only New York sex industry target that August 1972. Earlier in the month, police had busted a number of peep shows, massage parlors, and adult theaters in the Times Square area. It was all part of a campaign by Mayor John Lindsay to clear midtown Manhattan of smut. Skeptics complained it was the usual political show the city officials put on every so often – raids that went nowhere as the legal grounds were shaky and demand for adult products was high.

And so the World’s owners were used to these cyclical, cynical, and time-consuming busts. They sent their lawyer to court the next day to get permission to continue showing the movie until a hearing was scheduled in three weeks time. But just a week and half later, the police were back at the theater. According to the law, they couldn’t seize the film again, but they did arrest two employees for promoting obscenity.

Deep Throat

At this stage, even the bust of ‘Deep Throat’ didn’t make huge waves, though others had started to take note. A judge in Binghamton, a town three hours away from New York, noticed that ‘Deep Throat’ was playing in his town too. He figured maybe he should do something as well, so he seized copies of the film from a local theater, setting off a second court battle. ‘Deep Throat’ continued to show in a smattering of theaters across the northeast through the end of 1972.

And then in December, the obscenity case kicked off by the bust of the World Theater finally made it to court. The prosecution started with a simple approach – it screened the movie, assuming a straight forward viewing would be enough to prove its point. But Mature Pictures had hired Herbert Kassner, an attorney seasoned in defending the adult industry. He brought in a panel of experts who argued why the film was not obscene. One sample opinion was:

“I submit that a film in which a woman very plainly asks to be satisfied and is given that privilege on film advances that life right of women.”

The case wrapped in early 1973 and on March 1, the judge issued his opinion:

“‘Deep Throat’ – a nadir of decadence – is indisputably obscene by any legal measurement. This is one throat that deserves to be cut.”

He ordered the film banned from Manhattan theaters and all copies in Mature Picture’s possession to be        turned over to the police property clerk. Immediately following the decision, the World canceled all further showings of ‘Deep Throat’ and placed the now infamous statement on its marquee: ‘Judge Cuts Throat, World Mourns.’

Suddenly it was game on. Busts and prosecutions kicked off across the northeast, buoyed by the New York City decision. Then the media picked up on the latest developments about the salacious film, and began running regular stories to juice readership. Overnight it became a self-fulfilling vicious circle: the increased media scrutiny prompted city officials to continue their raids, with ‘Deep Throat’ now an easy target. And all this activity piqued the public’s interest, so crowds turning out to see the movie increased. Not just normal regular raincoat people either. Celebrities like Warren Beatty, Bob Hope, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Johnny Carson. And as more people saw it, more people talked about it.

Deep Throat

As Ralph Blumenthal wrote in the New York Times in January 1973:

“[‘Deep Throat’] has become a premier topic of cocktail-party and dinner-table conversation in Manhattan drawing rooms, Long Island beach cottages, and ski country A-frames. It has, in short, engendered a kind of porno chic.”

It was becoming clear that by now the film was raking in big profits. What was also clear was that the mob didn’t want Gerard to collect his share. And that meant Lou ‘Butchie’ Peraino, who used the alias ‘Lou Perry’ in the credits of the film. Ralph Blumenthal wrote about it in the New York Times as follows:

“According to Lou Perry, Damiano – the third partner in the film production – asked to sell his share when the film faced legal problems and had not yet begun to make money. ‘He was compensated what he asked for – $25,000.’ Perry said, ‘He was even asked to stay. This was his decision.’

“That sounds like a bad deal, I told Damiano as we sat one night with associates in a restaurant on Eighth Avenue. ‘I can’t talk about it,’ Damiano said.

“‘Why?’, I wanted to know.

“‘Look,’ he said, ‘you want me to get both my legs broken?’”

So why ‘Deep Throat’? Why was this the porn film to break into the mainstream, making millions along the way? Some said it was because it was the first hardcore film shown in cinemas – but it wasn’t. Others said it was the higher quality of the film – but Gerard Damiano himself said ‘Deep Throat’ was no great work of cinema, and there are plenty of better adult films that pre-date it. Or was it because it was the first adult film to incorporate comedy or have its own music soundtrack? No and no again. Or was it because Linda was the girl next door who had a sexual party trick? Hardly: several actresses could already have fit that description.

In the end, ‘Deep Throat’’s outlandish success seems to have been a combination of attempted censorship, gleeful media coverage, and good old human curiosity coming together smack dab in the middle of the aftermath of the sexual revolution: ‘Deep Throat’ is notable because of the cultural phenomenon that played out around it, and not because of the film itself.

Deep Throat


3. Enter Chuck and Linda

When the maelstrom of media attention first hit, Chuck and Linda had no idea it was happening. They were still tucked away down in Florida, scraping by on the back of Linda’s sex work. Linda remembered that period as being particularly difficult between her and Chuck – so bad that she decided to try and leave the marriage again. She headed back to her friend Patsy who lived in South Florida, but once again Chuck caught up with her. She later remembered Chuck’s pitch to her over the phone:

“Linda, I love you and I need you,” Chuck said. “You are my wife and I’m your husband. We are fucking married! And there is no way we should be apart. Now I know things have not been perfect for you – I can admit that. But there is no way I’m going to take this shit from you. Now you just make your little goodbyes there and get yourself packed up because I am coming over to get you and that is that!”

Linda capitulated and returned to Chuck. And then Chuck and Linda received a call from Butchie Peraino, by now ‘Deep Throat’’s owner and lead distributor. He said he needed them back in New York toot suite for interviews and promotional events. ‘Deep Throat’ was a hit, and he wanted to make it an even bigger hit.

Chuck smelled opportunity. Of course they could come back and publicize the movie, he said. Anything for a fee. The flight back to New York was a non-stop Chuck Traynor coaching session:

“I schooled her on what to say. Always sound sexy, always look cute. Wink at the camera, wink at the interviewer. Always talk about nudity, you always want to be nude. Always be titillating. You’d rather be having sex than doing anything. It was just schooling. Teaching her what to say, how to say it, when to say it.”

As Linda remembered:

“Chuck made up complete new identities for us. I was twenty-one years old, not twenty-three. He was a New York City photographer. And he discovered me in my home town of Bryan, Texas. He chose Bryan, Texas, because he had once worked there and he knew where the nearest movie theater was.

“’I don’t want to use the name ‘Traynor’ in any interviews,’ he said. ‘We don’t want the whole fucking family down on our asses. From now on you use the name from the movie, Lovelace. And I am J.R., your husband and manager. These people think you’re the turn-on queen of all time. Anyone asks you why you suck cock, you say you love it.

“Chuck went over every question I might be asked and then he told me the answers I was supposed to give. If someone asked me a question we hadn’t gone over, I was supposed to wait until Chuck chimed in with the right answer. That was Chuck’s complete thinking on the subject of public relations.”

Landing back in New York, Chuck immediately began working the media circuit.

Chuck Traynor

Overnight Linda was everywhere: across television, magazine, radio, and newspaper interviews, Linda painted herself as a sexually liberated, small town hippy girl making it big in New York. She said that after living in the back of a station wagon in Kentucky, she and Chuck had moved to New York where she worked as a topless dancer and model. When a reporter asked her if her performance in ‘Deep Throat’ was genuine, Linda responded:

“It’s me and that’s what I can do, and how I really am. In most porno films, people are not enjoying themselves, looking at the ceiling. But I’m enjoying it one hundred percent.”

Many journalists didn’t buy Linda’s act: it was too perfect, too enthusiastic. When feminist and journalist Nora Ephron tried to get underneath what she perceived to be the veneer, Linda insisted that she had no sexual inhibitions whatsoever. When Bachelor magazine asked Linda if she was being exploited as “a male fantasy dream girl,” Linda asserted, “I’m just pleasing ME.” In another interview, Linda said “I’ve always been liberated, always done the things I want to do when I want to do them. I don’t worry about this one or that one or anybody else. I’m the first woman in an X-rated film to openly seek pleasure and gratification when that’s always been the role of a man”

Chuck TraynorChuck Traynor

Linda was a national star, subject of late night chat show monologues as well as smutty teenage playground jokes. As for Chuck, he was all too happy to go along for the ride. Some however were less happy – and that included the Boremans, Linda’s family.

Linda’s sister Barbara was still living in New York at the time the film broke. She remembered hearing a story about the movie’s legal troubles on the local news one night – but at that point she was still unaware that Linda was the film’s star. All she knew was that she found public fascination with the film ‘disgusting’ so she turned a deaf ear to the continuing prattle.

But in April 1973, a friend called Barbara and told her to pick up a copy of that month’s Playboy magazine. Barbara protested, but the friend insisted, saying it was important. So Barbara did as instructed, and opened the pages to find her sister, stark naked, and describing her joyful experience as the star of ‘Deep Throat’. Barbara cried out “Oh my God, it’s my sister,” picked up the phone to call her parents. “I’ve got some bad news.“ she said. “You’re not going to like this, but I think our Linda is Linda Lovelace.”

At first, Linda’s mother Dorothy refused to believe it, even though someone had been anonymously sending her ‘Deep Throat’ news clippings in the mail. Linda’s friend Patsy later said she always thought the articles were sent by Chuck to further humiliate and isolate Linda.

It was up to Linda’s sister Barbara to call Linda and confront her.

Linda fessed up immediately: “I’m sorry” Linda told her, “I didn’t want you to know because I knew you’d be upset or angry.”

“I’m not angry,” Barbara told her, “because I don’t know who Linda Lovelace is. I only know who you are.”

Linda’s father John was also dismayed by the news. But he dealt with the revelation differently: he set off to go to a local theater playing ‘Deep Throat’ and see for it himself. Barbara later said:

“He was in the theater for ten minutes and when he came out, he vomited. He realized that was his daughter, and it was a shock. I was in shock, too. We all were.”

Barbara was in a difficult position: “Was I going to chastise her after I found out? No, she was over 21. And I was always proud of her. I loved her and in my eyes she could do no wrong.” Linda’s other sister Jean agreed. When she found out, she dismissed ‘Deep Throat’, saying it was “a stupid thing to do.”

But America has an obsession with celebrity, and few are immune to its power. And so, as Linda’s celebrity grew, so did her family’s acceptance. In fact, they started to celebrate Linda’s fame and ignore how she earned it. A few months after learning about Linda’s role in ‘Deep Throat’, Linda’s mother Dorothy told a journalist: “That’s my daughter, Linda Lovelace, the star.”

Linda Lovelace


4. ‘Deep Throat II’

Chuck wasn’t the only one eager to capitalize on the success of ‘Deep Throat’. Butchie Peraino and Phil Parisi, the exclusive rights holders to the film after making Gerard Damiano an offer he couldn’t refuse, wanted to keep the gravy train rolling. If one ‘Deep Throat’ was good, a second could be even more lucrative, right?

With Gerard Damiano out of the picture, Butchie and Phil approached another New York adult industry director to write and direct the sequel. Joe Sarno was a veteran sexploitation filmmaker and no stranger to Chuck Traynor – in fact, Joe had hired Chuck to work on and in a few of his softcore movies shot down in Miami in the late 1960s.

Joe Sarno was an unlikely choice to direct a sequel. He was more known for his moody, black and white sexual melodramas where the sex was suggested more than shown. Indeed, Joe had been reluctant to start shooting explicit sex when the industry turned from soft to hard, and he did it only because it was easier to raise money for pornographic films. But the producers knew Joe could pump out a movie quickly and efficiently – and time-to-market was going to be key to exploiting ‘Deep Throat’’s notoriety. Joe was finally sold on the idea when the producers told him that though wanted some hardcore scenes, the plan was to release the film “soft” – as an R-rated production. This would increase the size of the market, maximize the audience, and minimize more legal trouble.

The budget for the second Throat movie was almost three times larger than the first, coming in at $70,000, but the plot, well… that was just as thin as in the original. Here we go: Russians are trying to gain access to American secrets known by a patient of sex therapists, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. Or as Linda later said:

“I still don’t understand what that movie was about but I can tell you how it was explained to me. The central figure is a computer worker for the CIA and the FBI: the computer is tired of government work and wants to make spaghetti. In the course of the movie, the computer makes love to me.

“But bad as the movie was, it actually taught me some of the rewards of being a celebrity. I didn’t have to do any of the sexual acrobatics that made the first movie such a success.”

While Deep Throat II didn’t have any hardcore sex in it, ironically it did have many of New York’s adult industry most celebrated performers. For starters, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems returned to reprise their roles, and this time they were joined by Jamie Gillis, Marc Stevens, Tina Russell, Andrea True, Levi Richards, Georgina Spelvin, Helen Madigan, and Chris Jordan.

Deep Throat 2‘Deep Throat II’ lobby card

Andrea True – who a few years later would release the smash disco hit ‘More, More, More’, but at this time was a prolific adult film performer – recalled her first impressions of the Traynors. She described Linda as “very quiet, soft-spoken, and pretty” but noted that nobody on set really got to know her well because Chuck was often lurking nearby and his presence was off-putting. Linda later returned the compliment, saying that Andrea was “very intelligent, a college graduate, and much too smart to be doing what she did for a living.”

Andrea’s original role in the film was small, not much more than a side part. But as Linda struggled to remember and deliver her lines, Joe Sarno re-wrote the script in real time, expanding Andrea’s role to compensate for Linda’s poor performance. Andrea suspected Linda’s state of mind was fueled by her prolific use of marijuana and hash oil on set.

Andrea TrueAndrea True

But Andrea wasn’t the only performer on the receiving end of frequent script changes. Re-writes were coming in fast and thick, and not just from Joe Sarno. Two line producers ‘suggested’ for the cast by Butchie Peraino started adding and cutting dialog and scenes at will. That was hardly ideal for an experienced director like Joe Sarno, but as an employee of a production company run by mob affiliates, he didn’t dare object. In truth, the film production was becoming a mess – with no one seemingly fully aware of what they were doing.

When ‘Deep Throat II’ production was close to complete, Chuck asked Andrea True to join him and Linda for dinner at the Plaza Hotel where they were staying. Andrea remembered Chuck dominating the dinner conversation while Linda remained largely silent. Andrea spent the night in Chuck and Linda’s suite, and the next morning, they were woken up to the FBI loudly pounding on the hotel room door. Andrea panicked, but said the scene ended with Linda autographing photographs for the delighted agents.

‘Deep Throat II’ production wrapped in 10 days but the film didn’t wind up in theaters for almost a year. When it was finally released, it was a dismal flop, earning just a fraction of its predecessor and receiving universally negative reviews from critics. Whereas Al Goldstein had called ‘Deep Throat’ the best adult film ever made and gave it 100% on his peter meter, he declared ‘Deep Throat’ II the worst film he’d ever seen”, rating it a negative 500%. Andrea True attributed the film’s failure to one point alone. She said “Its central theme wasn’t Lovelace giving ‘Deep Throat’, and that’s all people wanted to see.”

Linda Lovelace

But what ‘Deep Throat II’ did provide was a payday for Linda. Chuck had negotiated a salary of almost $40,000 plus five percent of the film’s net profits. The money meant Chuck didn’t push Linda to turn tricks during production. In fact, Linda later said that the filming of ‘Deep Throat II’ in January of 1973 represented a welcome respite in her marriage. She recalled:

“With a future that seemed promising, Chuck was confused. It no longer made any sense for me to be a hooker. In fact, that kind of thing might just damage my value as a movie star-celebrity-author-Godknowswhat. That was my first payoff: I had turned my last trick.”

For a few weeks, it almost felt like a normal marriage.


5. ‘Inside Linda Lovelace’ – The Book

Linda and Chuck’s dealings with Andrea True didn’t end when ‘Deep Throat’ II’s production wrapped. Andrea had a friend named David Zentner who had founded a number of men’s magazines as well as the publishing company Pinnacle Books. When Andrea told David about working with Linda, he immediately asked to be put in touch. In short, David wanted to sign them up to a book deal. Andrea agreed on the condition that should a book get published, she would get 10 percent of the profits. Somehow Zentner agreed so Andrea made the call – and it was no surprise that Chuck was interested.

Chuck negotiated the terms which consisted of a $40,000 advance. Zentner hired a ghost writer who sent a list of questions to Linda, but it was Chuck who delivered the answers. In a later interview, Chuck said:

“I wrote the book with another guy. The book and its theme were totally my idea. I created all the sex situations in it, just like I created Linda Lovelace herself.”

Written in less than two weeks, the book was provocatively titled ‘Inside Linda Lovelace’ and focused almost exclusively on Linda’s supposed hypersexuality – though it does include several pages devoted to Traynor’s virility. Chuck’s authorship is supported from the very opening of the book. On the dedication page is just one short, declarative statement: “To Chuck Traynor – the creator.”

Inside Linda Lovelace

The book is a perfect distillation of how Chuck wanted the world to view Linda – and Chuck himself. Written in her voice, it’s full of provocative and defiant statements that were transparently from Chuck himself – even if Linda insisted it was all her own work when she was interviewed.

Interviewer: “Is everything that you say in your book Inside Linda Lovelace true?”

Linda: “Oh yeah, definitely true. I told exactly how it is. With no hang ups or inhibitions about sex.’”

Here’s a sample:

“Of course, I wouldn’t have hit it this big had it not been for Chuck’s special interest and his careful training program. He was the one who turned me into what I am today.

“What I have done was my own idea, and I defy anyone to prove I am a victim of some sort of psychological trauma.

“He didn’t bullwhip me into performing like a circus pony, I was the most willing pupil a teacher could ever have. Since I was so earnest, he devoted the time necessary to help me with my accomplishments.”

The book was such an obvious puff piece, few critics bothered to review it. One of the few who took the time to read it described Linda as:

“… a prisoner in a cage whose bars are composed of cocks. And she has been so thoroughly duped she seems quite happy there. Each age gets the heroine it deserves, and by God, we deserve Linda Lovelace.”

Linda Lovelace

Despite the negative reviews, David Zentner arranged a book tour to promote ‘Inside Linda Lovelace’. The tour began at the aptly named Gaslight Club in New York City and a number of media outlets were invited, including Screw magazine. Head honcho and provocateur-in-chief Al Goldstein was always on the lookout for a publicity opportunity – and he spotted a golden chance. He showed up with stills from Linda’s infamous 8-mm dog loop and a blow-up advertisement from his magazine stating “Linda Lovelace, star of ‘Deep Throat’, untangles the tingle of Fido!”

When Goldstein confronted Linda at the event, asking her whether she’d ever had sex with a dog on film, Linda calmly asked Chuck to have Goldstein escorted out. Another reporter was intrigued, and so he pressed for an answer. Linda brushed the claim off saying, “Look at the picture, it’s not me, it’s an Oriental girl.”

Goldstein later confronted Chuck about the event, and asked why Chuck had kicked him out when he knew the accusations of a dog loop were true. Chuck answered:

“Well, at that time, see, we were being approached by major studios because Linda was right on that edge, and of course, my thing was to always break that ice. To take somebody from pornography into legitimate films.”

Outside of this drama, the book tour was uneventful. ‘Inside Linda Lovelace’ sold reasonably well, but years later when Linda recalled the book, she said:

“That whole thing was written by Chuck Traynor. He would ask the writer at night what kind of questions he was going to ask the next day, and then he would review with me the answers I was supposed to say the following day.”

Linda went further:

“I hate the thought that people today can still pick up that piece of trash and think it has anything to do with me or my life. The book should have been called ‘Inside Chuck Traynor’.”

Linda Lovelace


6. Eureka

In the spring of 1973, Chuck decided he and Linda should move out to California to try and break into the mainstream film business. To prepare for their expedition, Chuck contacted his lawyer Phil Medina to help him and Linda create a production company. This is the same Phil Medina, you may remember, who in the summer of 1971 had helped clear Chuck of drug smuggling charges. Medina incorporated a new company, ‘Linda Lovelace Enterprises’ in Miami, Florida, and then Chuck and Linda headed west.

Once they landed in Hollywood, California, Chuck immediately began pursuing deals for Linda, convinced that big money was just around the corner. But as Linda noted, Chuck always seemed to get in the way of the very things he wanted. A Lake Tahoe nightclub deal fell through because Chuck insisted on a $50,000 payday when the producers wouldn’t go above $35,000. Film offers stopped coming in when Chuck said they wouldn’t accept anything less than a $300,000 guarantee. Linda was offered a monthly sex column in a popular magazine, but Chuck turned his nose up at the money being offered.

Chuck did successfully negotiate the occasional paycheck for Linda though. One was for a TV commercial for the M&J Shoe Company, In the ad, Linda cajoles: “I’m Linda Lovelace, and I know what you want. You’re looking for comfort, variety, and style. So I guess we have a lot in common. Like in shoes.”

While they may not have been closing many offers, the steady stream of attention did continue. Among those interested in lavishing attention on Linda was Playboy editor Hugh Hefner. When Linda first met Hefner, she’d been put off by him. As she prepared for a Playboy magazine shoot, Hefner cornered Chuck to ask him about Linda’s dog loop. Hef said he was fascinated by cross-species coupling, and wondered what it would take for Linda to recreate it for him.

Linda LovelaceLinda, in a Playboy shoot

But Linda eventually warmed to Hef, after all he was charming, and complimented her on her looks and personality. Hef gave them both all access passes to the Playboy mansion, enabling them to come and go as they pleased. Hef even suggested a secretary for the Linda Lovelace Enterprises company, a former Playboy bunny named Dolores Wells, who had been Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month back in June 1960.

Chuck and Linda interviewed Dolores and offered her the job – Linda was impressed with her kindness, Chuck liked Dolores’ ample bosom. Linda and Dolores went on to become fast friends, with Linda confiding her secrets to Dolores. Linda was also taken with Dolores’ young daughter – she told Dolores she yearned for children of her own someday, though not at this stage in her career, and not with Chuck.

Linda and Chuck continued seeing a lot of Hugh Hefner, though Linda was under no illusions why Chuck was so keen on befriending Hef:

“Chuck’s primary goal was to bring Hugh Hefner and myself together sexually. He saw this as the beginning of a great palship. Chuck had this picture of Hefner and himself as arm-in-arm buddies, sharing the sexual wealth of the world.”

Linda LovelaceLinda, in a Playboy shoot

It wasn’t all plain sailing. Chuck suggested to Linda she should have sex with Hefner’s dog at the Mansion. Linda was horrified, and also disappointed at Hefner’s role in the suggestion. She remembered:

“Hefner had no way of knowing I was there against my will; no way of realizing that I was Chuck’s prisoner. I know I shouldn’t hold something like this against him, but it was being staged for his benefit – and he was a part of it all. Months later, when a mutual friend told him that Chuck had forced me to do everything I did, he was very upset by it.

“Until that night, I felt that Chuck was absolutely insane, far gone. I was sure there would be no one else like him in the whole world. And then we meet someone very rich and famous like Hugh Hefner, a very well-known name around the world, and in an instant, he was right down there on the same level with Chuck Traynor.”

Hugh HefnerLinda and Hef


7. When Linda Met Sammy Davis Jr.

The Playboy Mansion wasn’t the only place Linda and Chuck met celebrities in Hollywood. Warren Beatty, Joe Namath and author Shel Silverstein were among those who courted the couple. But perhaps the most famous friend they made was Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy was a born-and-bred entertainer: from singing and dancing as a child, to screen fame in the 1950s, to Rat Pack membership by 1960. By the time Sammy met Chuck and Linda, he was almost 50 years old, and seemed to be facing something of a mid-life crisis. Though he had recently married his third wife, Altovise, Davis was fascinated with youth culture and the sexual revolution. As his biographer Wil Haygood later described it, “Davis had no intention of being left behind.”

Sammy David JrSammy and Altovise

Sammy dove head-first into the world of sexual experimentation and pornography, seemingly with the blessing of his new wife. He would throw regular orgies, arrange for porno screeners to be sent for home viewing, and when ‘Deep Throat’ exploded onto the scene, of course Sammy was interested.

To mark the occasion, he rented out the Pussycat Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard and invited celebrity friends to join him and Altovise for a showing. As Sammy later wrote in his autobiography ‘Hollywood in a Suitcase’:

“When ‘Deep Throat’ did the rounds, I could almost feel the earth reverberate. I made no bones about the fact that when they started making explicit sex films, I became an immediate and avid collector. There was no lack of people of both sexes to flock to see my collection, and I gave the premiere of ‘Deep Throat’ in several countries. I am anything but prudish in these matters, and I loved the day they threw out the etchings and put everything onto celluloid.

“But the significance of ‘Deep Throat’ in terms of the taboos it shot down in the history of movies is huge. It was the first time you could take your wife to the neighborhood movie to see explicit sex scenes. Someone had to be first across the line, and Linda Lovelace got there.”

Thoroughly taken by the film, Sammy decided he had to meet its leading lady. Learning Linda and Chuck were now in California, Sammy invited them over to dinner with him and Altovise.

Linda later recalled meeting Sammy:

“Our first night at Sammy’s house was a typical Hollywood social evening, dinner followed by a movie in the star’s private screening room. Then the four of us sat around and talked. That night, the conversation remained fairly general despite Chuck’s constant efforts to divert it into the gutter.

“I can no longer remember the first time that a scene actually came down between Sammy and myself… but once it did happen, it happened almost every night. I liked him as a person. Every night we were together, we’d spend hours just talking and sometimes we’d spend the whole night just rapping about his past.

“But there was another side to him. He would like to tie me down on a bed, then have other women come in and make love to me while he watched. There were times when Sammy and Chuck would have Altovise and myself go through a scene together while they watched. And that other side of Sammy could be scary.”

Chuck confirmed this side of Sammy, but, typically, made himself the center of the story, saying:

“Sammy used to tell me he was more interested in meeting and knowing me than he was in fucking Linda. He would fuck her, but that was secondary. He said, ‘I gotta know how you control women. I gotta’ know what makes them follow you like they do. What motivates you? Why do you do it?’

“I said, ‘Well, beats shovelin’ shit for a living.’”

Linda described one evening at Sammy’s house with Chuck where the three of them were watching ‘Deep Throat’. Linda said Sammy asked her to teach him to ‘Deep Throat’ – and this provided Linda with an unusual opportunity to humiliate Chuck. She suggested Sammy practice on Chuck so that she could comment. Here’s how Linda told the story:

“Sammy asked ‘Do you think Chuck would mind?’

“‘Mind?’ I said. ‘No, that’s the kind of thing he’d go for in a big way.’”

“Of course (I knew) this was definitely not the kind of thing Chuck would go for. In fact, it may have been his greatest fear, the one possibility he dreaded most. I knew whenever he put down another man, he’d call him ‘that fag.’

“Chuck existed in a very narrow sexual area. Probably because of his experiences with his mother, he hated all women and could never just have straight sex with a woman. But he was also a former Marine and a gun nut; in that super-macho world, there was no room for gays.

“So where did that leave him? That left him with cruelty and animals and whatever other bizarre possibility he could dream up.”

Linda said that Chuck didn’t feel he could jeopardize the valuable relationship by stopping him. So Sammy fellated Chuck. Linda knew the consequences of having engineered this, but she couldn’t resist it:

“I knew that I’d be punished, but this time it was worth it. The experience revealed something about Chuck that I hadn’t known. His cowardice. There he was, in pain and scared, but unable to speak up. He didn’t know how to handle it; didn’t know what to do. The expression on Chuck’s face that night will always be with me.”

The two couples began spending more and more time together. They went on holiday to Hawaii, where Linda says Sammy confessed his love for her. He even broached the idea of them leaving their respective spouses for each other.

While Linda said she was never in love with Sammy, she did enjoy the protection the relationship with Sammy provided her. Sammy’s attention kept Chuck on his best behavior and continued to shift the balance of power in the Traynor marriage. Chuck would put up with a lot for the financial doors he felt Sammy could open – even though Sammy publicly downplayed the help he could provide.

An article in the Orlando Sentinel read:

“Sammy protests he’s being given more credit than he deserves for helping the porno flick queen achieve general-audience fame. ‘I haven’t done anything I wouldn’t do for any friend,’ Davis says modestly. ‘Her ‘old man’ Chuck Traynor just happens to be a friend of mine.

“‘Old-friend Chuck,’ explains Sammy, ‘has been itching to capitalize on the publicity Linda has received from her ‘Deep Throat’ starring exposure, particularly anxious to take advantage of the big-money offers that have been pouring in from Las Vegas clubs.

The journalist continued that “the main problem Linda’s mentor was having was figuring out what talents she could display on stage that wouldn’t get her arrested. And this is where good-buddy Sammy came in.”

One of the more bizarre ways Sammy tried to help the Traynors was by inviting Linda to be on the Highway Safety telethon he had planned. Now, Sammy was National Entertainment Chairman of the Highway Safety Foundation, an Ohio-based non-profit organization founded by Richard Wayman, a partner at the eminent accounting firm Ernst & Ernst – now Ernst & Young.

Wayman was an avid photographer with a particular obsession for pictures of car crash scenes. He formed the foundation to produce and distribute highway safety videos. Wayman made his most famous highway safety video in 1959. Titled Signal 30 – which referred to the Ohio State Highway Patrol code for a fatal car crash – the short film showed extremely graphic footage of crash victims.

Sammy became involved with the foundation as it was a cause close to his heart. In 1954, he’d crashed his car when another vehicle stopped short in front of him. That accident left him with multiple facial fractures and caused him to lose his left eye.

According to journalist Martin Yant, Sammy and Richard Wayman had more than highway safety in common. Firstly, both had ties to the Teamsters Union – which in turn had ties to the Mafia. Sammy’s personal finances were a mess and he owed a lot of money to the mob; and Wayman had pitched Jimmy Hoffa for financial backing of his highway films.

And second, both Sammy and Wayman had an abiding love of pornography.

The mob saw a way to get involved with Sammy and Richard Wayman: what if they got involved in financing highway safety films which they would ship around the country as a front for distributing something much more lucrative – porn films. Interstate transportation of pornography was illegal and the target of federal busts, so having a wholesome front for it would be welcome.

Martin Yant said this strange scheme worked – and the Highway Safety Foundation became one of the biggest national distributors of pornography. The arrangement provided Wayman with a ready backer for his legitimate films. And it benefited Sammy, who was happy to be on the receiving end of porn films to show friends old and new.

Back to the Highway Safety telethon, Wayman pitched the concept to Sammy, admiring the money Jerry Lewis raised for muscular dystrophy with his telethons. Sammy was all in on the idea, knowing he could build a great event around his many friends including John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, Carol Burnette – even then President Richard Nixon.

And Sammy invited Linda to participate too, asking her to make a short speech during the program. But when Sammy included Linda on the performer list, he got strong pushback and a clear message. Linda would not be allowed into the event. Not wanting to rock the boat, Sammy let Linda and Chuck know her appearance was a no-go. This was the first time Linda understood that her porn-fueled celebrity status had limits.

While the telethon didn’t work out, it was likely a blessing in disguise for Linda. The event was a complete fiasco. The production wound up costing far more than the event raised, forcing Wayman to resign his foundation position.

Still, Sammy felt guilty about having to cut Linda out, so he decided to introduce her to a trusted friend and music producer to help her develop an act she could take on the road.

Linda Lovelace


8. The Flamboyant David Winters

David Winters was born 1939 in London, emigrating with his family to the U.S. as a teenager. He longed to become a professional dancer and convinced his mother to enroll him in classes. Thanks to his acting as well as his dancing abilities, within a year Winters was performing with the likes of Perry Como and George Balanchine. And by the 1960s, Winters was choreographing for celebrities like Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, and Liza Minnelli. He met Sammy Davis Jr. in 1965 and the two became both creative colleagues and personal friends.

David WintersDavid Winters, center left, blond hoodlum, in ‘West Side Story’ (1961)

Winters had another talent: he had a track record of taking performers with limited talent and making them more than they were. Sammy thought he’d be the perfect person to help Linda and suggested Chuck give Winters a call.

So Chuck called, and reached David Winter’s manager who said Winters wouldn’t be interested in working with someone from the adult industry. But soon after, Chuck did get a call from Winters himself who said that, on the contrary, he was intrigued at the prospect of working with a porn star. He told Chuck:

“I don’t want to do Mitzi Gaynor’s act, and I don’t want to do Florence Henderson’s act. All these people are boring to me. I want to do something that’s interesting and maybe this girl, maybe there’s a bit of a spin to it, you know?”

David came to the offices of Linda Lovelace Enterprises to meet the Traynors. Secretary Dolores Wells showed Winters photos of Linda while he waited, including ones of her performing her famous oral act. This made him uncomfortable and he thought of leaving, but then Linda walked in and his mind changed:

“It was like a movie: this girl comes through the door, and she looked like she was a teenager from a Midwest school: sweet little face, a couple of freckles here and there, and just charming. Very sweet and unassuming.”

David WintersDavid Winters and Linda

Linda later recalled meeting Winters for the first time, writing:

“Describing David Winters as flamboyant is to seriously understate the case. He wore stretch pants and boots, a loose chemise with puffed sleeves, and a pocketbook with jingling bells on it. As I met him for the first time, David handed me a single long-stemmed rose. I took one look and decided he was wonderful. Chuck took one look at David Winters and decided he was ‘a fag.’”

Chuck told David he’d already arranged a stage show for Linda. He had worked with their lawyer Phil Medina on a contract with Miami’s Paramount Theater at a salary of $15k a week. They had the location and the financial backing; they just needed help with Linda and the actual show. David asked Linda to sing, dance, and act for him and quickly understood why the Traynors were looking for assistance. But interested in the challenge and charmed by Linda, Winters agreed to produce the show.

He brought in colleagues to teach her to dance and sing, personally shuttling Linda from studio to studio. Winters claimed it was during one of these car rides that Linda first came onto him. She started by caressing his thigh and before long was showcasing her infamous ‘Deep Throat’ abilities. Whether Chuck put Linda up to this or not is unclear – bartering her sex for favors was by now his MO. But Linda later said she found Winters unique and alluring.

Linda’s lessons continued but the prognosis wasn’t good. Winters was direct with Linda:

“You can’t sing, you can’t dance, and you’re not a great actress. You’re not Sarah Bernhardt, and nobody wants to see you get up on the stage and recite Shakespeare, anyhow. So I don’t know what to do with you.”

But the Traynors had signed a contract, and Winters was committed to helping in whatever way he could. He hired backup dancers and singers for the show, hoping they would help draw attention away from what Linda lacked. He also hired the writer Mel Mandel who wrote lines that played off Linda’s past. Here’s Linda’s show opener as an example:

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for coming…oh, excuse me, I can’t say that. It’s so hard….oops…it’s so difficult for me to say anything. Every time I open my mouth… oops, sorry about that.”

You get the drift.

David WintersLinda and David

Once rehearsals started in earnest, Linda was feeling good. She was meeting new people, learning new things, and her confidence was increasing. But Chuck was still a problem, this time doing anything he could to sabotage her. He stayed out late partying – causing Linda to be repeatedly late when she couldn’t get him up in the morning.

When Linda finally did show up to rehearsal, David warned the couple that if they didn’t take preparation seriously, he was going to stop backing the show. Chuck took offense at that, and barked at Linda to pack up because they were leaving. But Linda stood up for herself, and refused in front of everyone involved.

“‘No!’ I screamed at him. While Chuck and I were going at each other, the rest of the company stood silently by. They were all frightened of him. He was at his worst. He hit me in front of everyone else.

“It was then that our writer, Mel Mandel, said something that changed my life: ‘I think I’d rather be dead than not really be living.’”

Chuck stormed out. Shortly after, Linda went with Lovelace Enterprises secretary and friend Dolores Wells to the Malibu home she shared with Chuck knowing he’d be out. She threw some personal possessions into a bag and headed to the Beverly Hills Hotel. After checking in under the last name ‘Hyatt’, Linda called David Winters and dropped a bombshell: she professed her love for him, and said she was leaving Chuck once and for all.

Linda and David said Chuck’s reaction was immediate. He began harassing them both. Chuck also called Dolores Wells telling her he was grabbing a gun and would be hunting the pair down until he found them. Chuck even called Butchie Peraino in New York, telling him Linda had been taken against her will and he needed some muscle to get her back. David Winters remembered being at home one day with two friends, sunbathing nude by the pool, when an unknown visitor showed up. Winters recalled the man saying:

“Look Mr. Winters, I dressed nice for California, huh? I dressed respectful for you. I’ve got a nice shirt on. But I’ve been told to kill you. I’m here to kill you. We know you know where Linda is, so you’d better get her. You got 24 hours.”

While the visit frightened Winters, it also infuriated him. He purchased a gun himself and called Chuck, challenging him to have it out once and for all. After that, Winters said he never heard from Chuck again.

So, why now? After over two years of Chuck’s abuse and volatility, why was this moment the final straw for Linda?

Had Linda finally realized the celebrity that ‘Deep Throat’ brought her? That she now held the balance of power in the relationship and could use it? Or was it her new relationship with David Winters? Linda always seemed to need a man to help guide and protect her, and perhaps Winters was the latest on offer.

As for Linda, she always credited writer Mandel’s words about really living as her wake-up call. Ironically Mandel later said that his comment was directed at Winters, not Chuck. It was a reaction to Winter’s domineering style and Linda’s seeming inability to stand up for herself. He said:

“I began to think she had no life of her own and was really at the whim of whoever happened to be involved with her. David was a powerful little guy. He would say, ‘you gotta do this and you gotta do that.’”

Perhaps Linda just lacked the confidence to believe she could succeed on her own, and she saw Winters as a logical replacement for Chuck. Instead of insulting her, as Chuck so frequently did, Winters bestowed compliments on her and allowed her to believe anything was possible.”

And so, on September 28th 1973, Linda filed for divorce in Santa Monica, citing abuse and irreconcilable differences.

The story of the Traynors was over. But in a way it was also just beginning.

David Winters


On the next episode of Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story…



  1. Fred Singleton · March 26, 2023 Reply

    YESSSSS!!!! I was hoping against hope that the next Svengali episode would drop this weekend. You giys have done a great job with this topic……….. turning it into a story about one film, and blowing it up to tell a history of an entire era. Would be a great TV series… hope some enterprising exec makes it happen.

  2. Geoff · March 26, 2023 Reply

    I’m loving this series.
    Each episode makes me hope that it’s not the last!

    Say it ain’t so…..

  3. Jeff Robertson · March 26, 2023 Reply

    Awesome Article Keep Up Good Work

  4. Noel Stefan Stoyanoff · March 26, 2023 Reply

    Nice use of Pink Floyd’s Fearless for part of the music bed!

  5. Mort · March 27, 2023 Reply

    Wowwww, Wowwww April
    This Rabbit Hole gets deeper a d Deeper( No pun intended. Lol) Great story can’t wait till next time.

  6. Steven R. Watkins · March 27, 2023 Reply

    Such a well done series of articles! I love that the Sammy Davis Jr. segment is discussed matter-of-factly, I’ve talked about it for years (it’s in his book!) but people look at me like I’m crazy.

  7. Kevin Hanson · March 27, 2023 Reply

    This is an exceptional series. I hope it has many episodes left! It is full of great detail and amazing story-telling.
    Hugely entertaining and informative.

    Thanks everyone.

  8. Sonny · March 27, 2023 Reply

    Having lived through that era I thought I knew most of her story. By following these podcasts I can see that i clearly did not. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next installment. Your work is exceeding your already high bar. Thank you so much.

  9. Roger Wade · March 27, 2023 Reply

    Mind-bending. Can’t hardly wait for the next installment.

  10. James · March 31, 2023 Reply

    For those who want to know more about David Winters, I strongly recommend his autobiography “Tough Guys Do Dance”!

  11. KC · April 16, 2023 Reply

    Suddenly finding out Sammy Davis Jr was sucking my penis is an absolutely horrifying notion, and I’m not homophobic. And I mean no disrespect to the memory of Sammy. Just…yikes. I guess that was Linda’s point though. Chuck sounds like a real piece of work. Excellent work by Rialto as usual.

    • Jim · May 13, 2023 Reply

      This podcast is high, high quality. The interviewers know the business. But the Chuck Traynor character is quite horrific and his pimping out his ‘wife’ is nothing short of Jungle exploitation that this society tries to gloss over. A lot of this is in the sex industry. While the money has attracted more ‘normal’ people, capitalism promotes this type of exploitation against people with rough backgrounds.
      I read a not interesting Marilyn Chambers autobiography and she said like Linda that Chuck wrote the book. He lived and breathed money, taking all of Marilyns when they divorced, no different than any multimillionaire CEO having no problem firing thousands of people to please his ‘shareholders.’
      The character of Hugh Hefner is another highly problematic one. Recently a documetary on cable showed how he drugged women at his ‘Playboy mansion’ and his teaming up with a monster like Chuck Traynor is illustrative. But again, his wonders with making money had the mainstream media gloss over the horror of his actions – which should have put the Traynors , Hefners and many others in prison. But we live in a capaitalist society where money and greed is rewarded over the dignity of the human being.
      Thank you to the creators of this podcast to humanize the sex industry and porn, but listening is not for the faint hearted.

  12. Anthony "A-Log" LoGatto · May 30, 2023 Reply

    Damn, Sammy. I didn’t know you had it in ya! Looks like my impressions of the guy are gonna get a little more blue after this.

  13. Diane · July 10, 2023 Reply

    Sorry it took awhile to get to this series as things have been real crazy for me-but man was it worth it!
    Maybe I shouldn’t complain when you consider how crazy things went for Linda Lovelace during her time with Traynor!

    As usual, you guys at The Rialto Report do an incredible job of investigative reporting, and you do it fearlessly!

    Thank you 😀

  14. MISTYK the DJ · July 30, 2023 Reply

    Great work on this series! The music is so fitting! I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment!

Leave a reply

Verified by MonsterInsights